Sunday, June 28, 2009

Disneyland (again)

You guys must be getting tired of these Disneyland posts by now. Well, at least you get new pictures every time.

So last week I went to Disneyland with the kids to use up their two-day passes. We were cutting it pretty close to the expiration date so the kids brought extra cash just in case. Turns out all we had to so was shell out another $25 to upgrade each ticket. Woohoo!


The first thing we did was have lunch. We went to The Golden Horseshoe (or whatever it's called) in Frontier land and had chicken nuggets and root beer floats--num! We saw the very beginning of this one skit that we always seem to catch the middle of. We've never seen the end, but now we've seen the middle and the beginning. Oh well. One of these days. We also got to sit in the upstairs balcony. That was fun.

Since we upgraded the tickets we were able to go to both theme parks, so I dragged Evan and Kyra over to California Adventure to go on the Toy Story ride, which is pretty fun. Evan liked it a lot. Kyra didn't really know what to think of it because she was overheating from all the sun. But we fixed it with ice cream ^.^

We spent the rest of the day in Disneyland and had lots of fun messing around and going on rides. We even survived Dumbo The Killer Elephant. I have the pictures to prove it.


Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!


*deep breath* Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!

Poor Timmy was hanging on for dear life! But luckily we made it in one piece. Whew, that was a close one.

We stayed late and saw the new fireworks. They weren't that great :/ They supposedly cancelled a bunch of stuff because of wind conditions, so they might be better on another night. I heard that Dumbo was supposed to fly over the castle instead of Tinkerbell. I still don't know how they manage to pull that one off. The music was still kind of annoying though. It featured pop re-mixes of Disney princess songs. Why couldn't they just stick with the originals? I mean, really.

Right after the fireworks we rushed over to see the re-vamped version of Fantasmic. Kyra and I were laughing at the prospect of them changing the music and the acts of violence Evan would enact if they did. Lucky for us and everyone else in the immediate vicinity, the music remained the same. Though they did delay the show for fifteen minutes due to technical difficulties. We didn't get to see the new dragon (again, technical difficulties) :( But we did see Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula's eels. They were pretty neat, but Ursula wasn't there (technical difficulties, anyone?) so it was also kinda sad.

We went on a couple more rides this time and stayed until closing. I was driving this time so we all piled into the car, put on some Disney tunes and got on the freeway to go back to Jolie's house. Except when we got back to the 91 we discovered that the 5 North was closed! WTF, people? So we had to take the looong way back to Jolie's. The 91 West to the 110 North then finally to the 101. Arrg. At least I had some music and Evan and Kyra to keep me awake. They kept drifting in and out of sleep, but one of them always seemed to be awake.

Oh! And Evan pulled a Jerome when we got home! :D See, back when I was going to Disneyland every month with Skeeve, Jerome, and Eden, Jerome would always fall asleep on the way home. The minute we got on the freeway he was out like a light. Then the very second we got off the 110 he'd wake up and in a very sleepy and bewildered voice ask, "Woah, when did we get to Pedro?" It got to the point where every time we got off the freeway Skeeve and I would look at each other and start counting, "One...two...three...four..." And then from the backseat we'd hear: "Dude, when did we get here?"

Evan didn't sleep for the whole ride home, but watching him wake up when we got off the freeway sure brought back memories. Kyra and I laughed and it was most amusing.

I'm sure I'll be back before long. My pass expires next month and I'll probably wait until after my birthday to renew it.

Edit (8:28 pm): Omigosh! I can't believe I forgot to tell you guys about our Jungle Cruise skipper! I think his name was Jonathan and he was the best skipper we've had in quite a while. First of all while we were waiting in line to get on the boat he was making helicopter noises a la Miss Saigon into the microphone. Then once we got on the boat he started making Star Tours references XD Example: "Well hi there everyone! My name is Incredibly Handsome Jonathan. This is probably your first flight and it's...mine too--haha! Braaakes! Braaakes! Where are the brakes?!" It was great! :D Then when we got to the part where the hippos "attack" the boat and the skipper fires the gun into the air to scare them off. Our skipper raised his gun to the sky, fired his shots and told us, "The really dangerous ones are in the trees!"

He was sooo much fun. And now that I think about it, he looked a bit like Scott o.O Scott, what were you doing out of Canada without Eden?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad!



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Friday, June 19, 2009

"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach. All the damn vampires."



I bet you guys can't guess what's in this bottle.  That's right, it's holy water!  And before you ask, no it didn't burn.  I needed to do some research for that book I'm still working on so Denise and I went down to Santa Monica to check out this (really pretty!) Catholic church that I found on the internets.  Since you ask, I'm writing a scene where the main characters have to go to a Catholic church and steal holy water a la The Lost Boys in order to fend off an evil vampire.  

The reason I had to go all the way to Santa Monica is because one of the characters hangs out there fairly often and I kind of wanted to pick an actual place.  As I was getting ready to go down there to get a feel for the church I thought to myself, "What the hell?  I might as well take this thing all the way."  So I brought a small glass vial that I happened to have sitting in my box of essential oils and, after making sure that no one was looking, I filled it up from one of the fonts.  I will admit it was kind of fun.  I'm not sure what to do with my little vial of holy water now that I have it.  I guess I'll just stick it on a shelf somewhere with a little sign that says "Break in case of Edward Cullen".  Yeah, ok that was a cheap shot.  Sorry, Kyra.

The church we went to see was called  (you guessed it) Saint Monica's Catholic Church.  It really is very pretty.  I believe the style is Romanesque if I'm remembering my architecture/art history terms correctly.  Out front was a statue of Saint Monica decorated with flowers.  I like when they adorn the statues like that.  It's almost pagan.  Shhhhh, don't tell them.  I would have set up Timmy for a picture but there were cars going by and I didn't want one of them to roll down their window and yell at me.

We got to the church around one o'clock or so and it was empty save for one person.  I would have taken pictures of the inside but I didn't want to disturb her.  The inside was supported with all these pillars and there were iron chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  All very nice and peaceful.


Here are a couple shots of the front of the church.










It's a neat building compared to a lot of the modern looking churches you see nowadays.  We also walked around the block and saw the refectory as well as the elementary school and high school that are run by the church.  It took up the whole block.

So after I nabbed the holy water we sat in the pews for a bit so I could get a feeling for the space.  I don't think I've ever been in a church when it was practically empty before.  It was kinda neat and the atmosphere was very peaceful.  Could have used some Gregorian chants but I guess you can't have everything.

On our way out we saw what I think was a statue of either St. Joseph or St. Christopher carrying the infant Jesus.  Next to it was this plaque that said Maria Shriver & Arnold Schwarzenegger Sanctuary.  o.O  Well that was unexpected.

So after I decided that I had absorbed enough churchness we went to the Santa Monica Pier :D  Denise had never been and I wanted to do some writing with the Pier in mind too.  So we drove over and managed to find parking.  I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled and amazed Denise was that the Pier had rides.  She thought it was just going to be a piece of wood sticking out into the ocean.  But nope.  I'd like to see her face if she ever visits the Santa Cruz Pier (where it so happens much of The Lost Boys was filmed).  That'll really blow her mind.

The first thing we did was get some lunch because I hadn't eaten anything all day.  Denise was fine so she waited while Timmy and I had pizza.  After that we visited the aquarium and looked at the fishies.  It was very small, way smaller than the Cabrillo aquarium.  But at least they had jellyfish.  They also had the largest collection of starfish I've ever seen in a vast array of colors.  I got a picture of some fishy making use of camouflage for God's class.  They have an entire unit on animal camouflage and Mom's always looking for examples.  




Timmy went for a swim with the jellyfish and Denise pointed out a couple of mutants that had six or more stomachs.  I think normally  jellyfish are supposed to have four.  It looks like Timmy had fun though.  I wonder if hedgehogs are immune to jellyfish stings.  Denise made sure the jellyblobs didn't get too close.  Just in case.

The aquarium also had not one, not two, but three moray eels sitting in a tank.  For some reason they always make me think of The Little Mermaid.  One of volunteers told us that Morays have two jaws like in the movie Alien and showed us an x-ray o.O  It turns out that they grab onto food with their outer jaw that we can all see and once it gets into their mouth their inner jaw pulls it further in.  That has got to be one of the creepiest things I've ever heard.  Nonetheless, I insisted that Timmy take a picture with them.  He still has yet to forgive me.


After that we had ice cream!  Omnomnom!  Denise and I decided to share a banana split (Timmy had some too).  It was made with soft serve chocolate frozen yoghurt, strawberries, and pineapple.  The pineapple was interesting and I'm not sure if I liked it.  Maybe if it was fresh pineapple instead of the candied stuff.  It was also the gooeyest, drippyest banana split I've ever had and it's a wonder that we didn't make a mess.  Most of the drippyness fell through the hole in the table and the pigeons kept running under the table and over our feet to get to the puddles of ice cream underneath.  Eww.

  
We finished our ice cream and walked around Pacific Park where all the rides are.  We briefly thought of going on some, but they were like five bucks each and we didn't feel like buying a wrist band for $15.  We did play some skeeball though.  I need to start practicing again.  I used to be really good at skeeball.  Guess it's time to go to Chuck E. Cheese.

I stopped in to one of the giftshops and got more postcards for Skeeve.  We looked at the antique carousel and grabbed the chance to take some pictures with this sand dragon we found outside.  There was a pirate/viking ship too but some kids were too busy having fun playing on it.


I hope this dragon doesn't have a taste for hedgehogs



Rawr!

The coolest part is I think the dragon lights up at night.  His eyes appear to be red lights covered by a grating and it looks like there is a small light bulb in each nostril.  Richard would love that.

We got back on the freeway around four and of course ran into the traffic from hell.  We finally got off and managed to take Hawthorne the rest of the way home without getting lost.  Once I took Denise home I drove around like crazy getting cupcake ingredients for Mom's last day of school on Friday.   But that is another post altogether.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monkey Island is back, Baby!



I want this soooooo bad!  For the first time in my life I am seriously considering getting an Xbox.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stuff!


Guess what I got?  A new camera!  It's an Olympus FE-5010, the closest thing I could find to my old camera and so far I'm pretty happy with it.  I like the Olympus brand in general.  Plus, this one's blue! ^.^  You can't really see it in the picture, but just trust me, it's blue.

And you know what else is blue?  My new car!  Now that I've got a new camera I was able to take some pictures of her.  All my cars have been female, by the way.  You know, like boats and other vessels.  I really like blue, have I mentioned that?

Well here she is.  Right now I'm calling her The Selkie's Successor because she doesn't have a name of her own yet.  It'll probably take me a month or so to really get a feel for her personality.  Few people know this, but the Selkie was originally named The Lady Blue after a character from Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series.  Then one day I was taking Skeeve home and the door made an squeaky sound when she opened it and Skeeve said it sounded like a seal.  From that moment on the car became The Blue Selkie.  

This one is a darker shade of blue than the Selkie, but it's still sparkly when you get up close.  Here's another shot from the front.  I don't have license plates yet because when I got the car it only had one plate on it.  Apparently the dealer wasn't aware of this so when I pointed it out they took the one license plate off and said they'd send me new plates and the registration within a month.  It also didn't come with floor mats, so they gave me some brand new ones.  They don't quite match the upholstery but considering they go on the floor, I'm not really complaining.

I'm considering naming her something Princess Bride related because she comes equipped with her very own Pit of Despair ®.  What?  You think I'm kidding?  Well look at this.

This is the armrest center compartment thingy that sits between the front seats.  It is a veritable bottomless pit.  You can barely see my cell phone charger at the very bottom.  It's kind of creepy.  I'm not gonna name her Buttercup because that would be too easy and I'm not gonna call her the ROUS cause that's just weird.  I'd still like to stick with something marine mammal related to tie in with The Blue Selkie but I guess we'll see.  I'm sure something from Princess Bride will make it in there somewhere.

The dash is pretty cool.  It looks kind of retro, which is neat.  My only complaint is the 6 and the 8 look pretty similar as a result.  But it also has an iPod hookup, woohoo! 

 The trunk of course is huge.  you could fit, like, four bodies in there easy.  Oh...heh, sorry.  We Sicilians tend to measure trunk space in bodies rather than square feet.  So much more practical.  Anyway, it'll come in really handy if Evan, Kyra, and I decide to take my car to Oregon next summer.  Though I'm sure we'll be comparing both my and Evan's car as far as best mileage and most trunk space and decide which of our cars to take based on that information.  I'll keep you guys posted on how that develops because a road trip with my cousins would be awesome.  If we can pull it off.

I also went to the mall yesterday and got a new swimsuit for the cruise.  I showed it to God when I came home and told her it was for the cruise and she looked at me like I was nuts.  It wasn't until I said "indoor heated swimming pool, Mom" that she finally went "Ohhhhhh!"  The ship has two or three swimming pools and as far as I know they're all climate controlled.  Like I'm going to go swimming in the Alaskan ocean with the puffins and the polar bears.  Geeze, Mom.

So that's about all the news I have for now.  And since this is Sunday, I bring you the very first picture I took with my new camera.  It's Rob, wondering what on earth I'm doing with that little clicky box.  He thinks the camera is alive or something.  He always barks at it when I try to take his picture.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Announcements...and exclamation marks

I  got a new car!  It's a 2009 Ford Focus in a slightly darker shade of blue than the Selkie.  It's still sparkly though ^.^  Also, it has an iPod hookup--woo!  The best part is I got to sign for in all by myself.  Yay for good credit!

In other news, Timmy and I are going to Alaska!  Dad's coming too.  We're gonna see the glaciers before they melt.  I'm pondering making Timmy a little tux to wear to dinner.  We'll be leaving out of Seattle and going to Juneau and Skagway  and then passing through Tracy Arm Fjord.  Then we'll be going to Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C.  Maybe we'll meet up with Scott and Eden if they think they can make it out there.  I know Victoria's not exactly close to Alberta :/  In any case, I think Timmy will quite enjoy it ^.^

And now without any further ado, I bring you this week's random picture.  Eeeeee!  Isn't he adorable?  It's like Timmy and Eeyore had a baby.


And a side note.  If you haven't seen Star Trek yet, go right now!  It.  Was.  Awesome!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I like June Gloom

Hey, it's raining!  Ok it's raining pretty lightly, but still!

I wish I could go to Disneyland in the rain today.  Instead I have to make a salad and bring it to my Art Appreciation class for my final.  It's worth 200 points, believe it or not.

I suspect I am making far more salad than is actually necessary.  A bunch of other people are supposed to bring salad too.  But when you ask an Italian to bring food we tend to bring more than enough for everybody.  It's a cultural thing, I guess.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Well waddya know?

Is that how you spell the folksy contraction of "what do you"?  Because I honestly have no clue.

My files were accepted by the publisher!  Yaaaaay!  This means I get a free proof copy of what I have so far and I can make the novel ready for sale when I'm good and ready.  Or I can always send my future revised proof copy to the grown up publishing companies and see if they want it.

Anyway, this is still the first draft of my novel and a lot of it is preeety ugly in my opinion.  The story is there, the characters are good, but the writing itself needs some more finessing before I'm ready to show it to anyone outside of my close circle of friends.

I probably would have waited on the proof copy if it wasn't for the fact that NaNoWriMo let me do this for free.  And when I say free, I mean really free.  They even payed for shipping!  I should get my novel by the end of the month whereupon I'm sure I will promptly read it and cringe.  First drafts are always like that.

The working title is By Yonder Blessed Moon, taken from the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.  I don't know if t will stick or not, but most of the people I've talked to seem to like it.  So that's what it is currently.  Unless I find a more appropriate Shakespeare quote to use.

This is so much fun ^.^

Monday, June 1, 2009

Publishing is scary o.o

Well, I submitted what I have of my novel so far.  It's 18 chapters, it's incomplete, and it needs a lot of editing but I submitted it anyway because I'm not planning on making it available for purchase and I just wanted to have a paper-bound copy of something I'd written.  I ended the last chapter with "To be continued..."  I'm maybe 3/4 of the way to being done.

I had some trouble getting the formatting right, so I don't even know if it'll go through.  I'm supposed to hear back from the company within 24 to 48 hours but by that time my NaNoWriMo code will have likely expired.

I believe NaNoWriMo is awarding the same prize next year and I will definitely be participating again.  So there's always next year if this doesn't go through.  Still, it was fun and I'm working on completing the novel as a whole, at which point it will most definitely be up for publication again.

I keep checking my email constantly to see if they've emailed me back yet.  I'm compulsive, so sue me.